Monday, January 25, 2010

Danticat on Family & Haiti + Saints & Colts to Super Bowl

Edwidge DanticatHaitian-American Edwidge Danticat (at right, one of the most talented writers of her generation, writes in this week's New Yorker about the death of her cousin and one of his daughters, in the house she called home on her visits to Haiti, and how family members there are dealing with the tragedy. It's a brief yet powerful piece, made ever more so by Danticat's prose, with its casual unfolding, precise observations and gentle humor, appropriate here despite such a terrible tragedy. A snippet:

By the time Maxo’s body was uncovered, cell phones were finally working again, bringing a flurry of desperate voices. One cousin had an open gash in her head that was still bleeding. Another had a broken back and had gone to three field hospitals trying to get it X-rayed. Another was sleeping outside her house and was terribly thirsty. One child had been so traumatized that she lost her voice. An in-law had no blood-pressure medicine. Most had not eaten for days. There were friends and family members whose entire towns had been destroyed, and dozens from whom we have had no word at all.

Everyone sounded eerily calm on the phone. No one was screaming. No one was crying. No one said “Why me?” or “We’re cursed.” Even as the aftershocks kept coming, they’d say, “The ground is shaking again,” as though this had become a normal occurrence. They inquired about family members outside Haiti: an elderly relative, a baby, my one-year-old daughter.

The entire piece is available at the New Yorker's site. Also on the site, George Packer's article on rebuilding Haiti.


I'm really glad I caught yesterday's division championships; they were just the thing for the January doldrums I've been feeling. In the early afternoon game, for the AFC Championship, the New York Jets, all but given up for lost by mid-season, faced the powerhouse Indianapolis Colts, the league's arguably best team with its arguably best quarterback, Peyton Manning. The Jets were leading the Colts at halftime, an inconceivable achievement and one that made me pinch myself, but in the third quarter, Manning began to pick apart the Jets' defense as if they were toy soldiers, landing many of his corkscrewing gems in the waiting arms of wide receiver and Haitian-American Pierre Garçon, while the Colt's defense clamped down and didn't allow the Jets any further points, for a 30-17 victory. At times I felt like Manning was putting on a passing clinic for the fans, his teammates, and the Jets, and he did rack up 377 yards on 26 for 39 passing, with three touchdowns. The Jets' rookie QB, Mark Sanchez, was no slouch with 257 passing yards and two touchdowns, but he also threw a one of his notorious 4th quarter interceptions, sealing his team's fate. Indianapolis, which has a new and different (and black, for the second time) coach, Jim Caldwell, since its last trip five years ago to the Super Bowl, and many new players, but it still has Manning, who when he's on really rivals the best ever at his position. I certainly wouldn't want to be a cornerback or safety having to go up against one of his laser throws.

Pierre Garçon
INDIANAPOLIS - JANUARY 24: Wide receiver Pierre Garcon(notes) #85 of the Indianapolis Colts celebrates with the Haitian flag after the Colts defeated the New York Jets 30-17 in the AFC Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 24, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

In the evening game, the New Orleans Saints, a team that's never gone to the Super Bowl, met the Minnesota Vikings, led by the unretired former Green Packer star Brett Favre, in the rebuilt Superdome. The game was mostly an offensive affair, with Favre and the Vikings leading in total yards, rushing yards and passing yards, but New Orleans's offense did enough to keep it competitive, and the game ended at regulation with a 28-28 tie. The Saints settled the matter by marching to the 40-yard line where kicker Garrett Hartley kicked the winning field goal. Favre, who is again considering retirement, is probably wishing he could have taken back his errant throw in the 4th quarter, when his team was leading, that allowed New Orleans back in, while the Saints' offensive and defensive squads are probably trying to figure out how to tighten up in order to be competitive against the Colt's stronger, tighter machine.

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 24: The New Orleans Saints celebrate with the NFC Championship trophy after they won 31-28 in overtime against the Minnesota Vikings during the NFC Championship Game at the Louisiana Superdome on January 24, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

The Super Bowl will take place on February 7 in Miami. I think Indianapolis is the stronger team, but I'd love to see New Orleans literally get its day--its first Super Bowl victory--in the sun.

No comments:

Post a Comment